Far-right radical group C14, who are responsible for a string of attacks on the LGBT and Roma community, will receive thousands of dollars in funding from Ukrainian Ministry of Youth and Sport, Hromadske Radio reports.
C14, together with organizations Educational Assembly and Holosiyiv Hideout, won a competition for “national patriotic education projects,” held by the Ministry of Youth and Sport. The winners were announced on June 8 by the commission responsible for the competition, headed by Deputy Minister Mykola Danevych.
In the attack on May 22, ERRC News reported that a group of masked men armed with guns and bats forced Roma families living near the village of Velyka Berezovytsia Ternopil to flee into the forest, and then set fire to their makeshift dwellings. Shots were fired and three people were injured in the attack. The terrified seven adults and 30 children lost all their property and documents in the arson attack. Doctors at the local hospital were forced to call the police when the injured Roma came under renewed attack as they were being brought in for treatment.
Just a week earlier, in the village of Rudne in the Lviv region, a 30-strong gang of masked men descended upon Roma shacks at 2a.m. on May 10, dragged people out of their beds, beat them and set their homes alight, destroying all their belongings and forcing them to flee. Police and ambulance responders were on the scene, but no arrests were made. The victims’ whereabouts are unknown.
This attack came just 10 days after members of the neo-Nazi paramilitary group C14 filmed themselves carrying out a pogrom in the Lysa Hora nature reserve near Kyiv, where they drove fifteen families from their homes. As reported by ERRC on April 21, a C14 gang, carrying weapons, attacked the Roma. A video posted days later showed whole families with small children fleeing in terror, chased by masked men who hurled stones and sprayed them with gas canisters, before setting their tents ablaze.
What is especially sinister is the evidence of official collusion in each of these attacks. Following the first attack, the prominent C14 member Serhiy Mazur openly boasted on his Facebook page about the successful operation, as the result of collaboration between C14 and the Holosiyiv District Administration.
The police took no action at first, stated that they had not received any complaints of violence or beatings, and claimed that local representatives and firemen were present during a clean up operation where rubbish left behind by Roma was burned. By April 25, the video footage, eyewitness accounts and media coverage forced the police to announce that a criminal investigation had been initiated.
Concerning the May 10 attack in the village of Rudne, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHRPG) reported that unknown persons visited the camp days before the attack and warned the Roma to leave. On May 10, the district administration news service announced that municipal workers, police and security “conducted an explanatory operation” with the Roma, after which they left the territory. Accounts from people in the nearby village suggest that police were actively involved in the attack. After being ordered to investigate by the Human Rights Commissioner, the National Police of Lviv region opened a criminal case of hooliganism.
As Jonathan Lee reported in ERRC News, after the third May 22 pogrom, one of the Romani women told our monitor on the ground: “I don’t trust the police. The next day I saw the police officer drinking coffee with one of the guys who attacked our camp.” She added “One of the guys who attacked us threatened to find us even underground if we dare to complain to the police”.
On 7 June 2018 Paramilitaries broadcast live pogrom against Roma on Facebook, the fourth in the last six weeks.
The organized assault was the fourth of its kind to be committed against Romani people in Ukraine during the last six weeks. The National Militia was created by veterans of the ultra- right Azoz Battalion in January and on 6 June issued an ultimatum, again through Facebook, to these particular Romani people instructing them to vacate their camp within 24 hours.
“When the police don’t act, the National Militia takes control of the situation,” the neo-Nazis posted to the social networking site. The extremists then published a 12-minute video edit of the attack on YouTube.